Introduction to Keigo Part 1: Types of Keigo



Today, I will be introducing Keigo as part of the new series upcoming for next week.

Let’s learn the different types of Keigo that we have today.

In the olden days, there were only 3 types of Keigo, 尊敬語 (そんけいご), 謙譲語 (けんじょうご) and 丁寧語 (ていねいご).

In 2017, another 2 types of 敬語、丁重語 (ていちょうご), a subset of 謙譲語 (けんじょうご) and 美化語 (びかご) were identified.


If you were to ask your sensei, they might not know about 丁重語 (ていちょうご) and 美化語 (びかご).

Next week, I will start to talk a bit more about the various forms in greater detail, but first, I need you all to understand some examples of these 5 types of Keigo.

尊敬語 謙譲語 丁重語 丁寧語 美化語
いらっしゃいます 申し上げます 申します たべます ごはん
おっしゃいます うかがいます まいります のみます おみず

Question: Why are we learning the 5 different types when we can survive with 3 different types?

Answer: I will give an analogy. If the price of the food is now $10 instead of $8 two years ago, would you be able to get away just by paying $8? Chances are the restaurant staff might ask you to fork out another $2. Same theory over here. To appreciate the language better, it is better to learn the new concepts rather than the old concepts as taught in the textbooks. I personally encountered problems with Keigo previously. Since i have learned a bit more about Keigo, i hope to share what I have learned, so that it is easy for you all to pick it up.

The next few posts i will go into more detail in the following order.

  1. 尊敬語 (そんけいご/ Honorific form)
  2. 謙譲語 (けんじょうご/ Humble form)
  3. 丁寧語 (ていねいご / Polite form)
  4. 丁重語 (ていちょうご / Courteous form)
  5. 美化語 (びかご / Beautifying words)

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend ahead.

Its 1225am here in Singapore.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: